To write love on her arms

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published on August 10, 20154 reads 4 readers 0 completed

Please help raise awayness

“Sometimes the edge serves as more than a friend than you thought it would be

And the pages you write in your journal each night are your only release

And the mask you put on it’s like words in a song but there’s more to be seen

And the failures you see don’t seem failures to me here at all”

Depression came in waves for me. It was a numb feeling that started just below my stomach and spread to every part of me. It swelled with strength before it faded away. It was an uncomfortable tug pulling me back and forth, an ebb and flow that left me feeling hollow in the midst of it and like I could breathe again in the aftermath. The waves would cover me for weeks or months or any time span in between. Sometimes it was a shallow feeling of a lack of purpose—What is the point, anyway? — that left me with questions I couldn’t answer. That’s what the longest period of depression in my life was like: so many questions, never enough answers.

My worst bout of depression, the one that plunged me the deepest below the wave, wasn’t my longest struggle with it—it was actually one of the shorter ones. But it brought me down deeper than I’d even been before and have been since.

“Oh I’m begging you, no

There’s more life left to go

Oh I’m begging you, please

‘Cause I, I don’t want you to leave”

Nobody really talks about self-harm here in my part of the backwoods of Canada. Depression is slowly getting its day, yes, but self-harm is like the cousin that nobody talks about. It’s like we can admit that people get depressed, that it does happen, but self-harm is another thing entirely.

It was winter. I was doing my best to wade through heart-crushing disappointment and loneliness. That ever-present void, just below my stomach, was back asking the same questions it had asked before. It served to be a volatile combination, but I tried to find my way through the wave back to the sunshine, back to fresh air. But one night it all came to a head.

The questions came straight from the void: What would happen if I hurt myself? Would I feel better?

I started to cry.

“Alone as you walk through a crowd and it’s awkward like nobody sees

And you can’t help but wonder would anyone come after you if you leave

So a pain grows inside and that fear comes alive like you’ll never be free

But there’s no pain you feel that I know love can’t heal here at all”

I live right about in the middle of North America, where summers are indescribably beautiful and winters are cold and long. Winters are so long that, by the end of them, we are no longer marveling at their beauty and stillness; we just want the cold and the snow to go away. We’re always ready for spring by March, though it doesn’t often come to stay until April.

The winter that the void of my depression surprised me was an average winter weather-wise, but it was turmoil for me. That turmoil led to first-time thoughts of self-harm, which then led to sobs that felt like they were being pulled from my soul. That shocked me out of the void and back into the fresh air. I couldn’t contain my grief and told my mentor when I saw her two days later, but she was the only one I told. I didn’t tell my mom until a year later, my dad until almost two years had passed. I struggled through that winter, and it was long, but spring did come.

The tilt of the earth, the force of the sun, the change in circumstances—they all defeat the snow and the cold. Winter cannot stand in the face of them.

“Oh I’m begging you, no

There’s more life left to go

Oh I’m begging you, please

‘Cause I, I don’t want you to leave me

To leave me here on my own

There’s nothing to run from, no

There’s nothing but fear inside you

Oh I just hope I can find you

And tell you that I know you’ll smile again”

Just like winter, my depression was defeated, and I haven’t had thoughts of self-harm since. I couldn’t tell you in what specific instance the battle was won. After all, how do you know that a wave is retreating until it’s already gone? How can we know what sent it, and how can we know what pulls it down and stops it? All waves eventually reach their end, though; even wave pools don’t run twenty-four/seven. The sun always comes up after a night of darkness, even though some nights seem longer than others. Depression is like those things; it sometimes feels like an eternity when we’re in the midst of them, but they cannot endure. They cannot last. They will be defeated.

The spring always melts the winter.

“Oh I’m begging you, no

More life left to go

Oh I’m begging you, please

‘Cause I don’t want you to leave”
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